Africa Day flagship celebration in Dublin will not take place this year

Participants were only told the Farmleigh event would not go ahead two weeks ago

 Annie Waithira, Farah Elle and Patience Moyo at the launch of the programme for Africa Day 2018. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Annie Waithira, Farah Elle and Patience Moyo at the launch of the programme for Africa Day 2018. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

The annual flagship Africa Day event at the Farmleigh Estate in Dublin’s Phoenix Park will not take place this year.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed on Friday that rather than hold a large event in Farmleigh, it had decided to adopt “a fresh and collaborative” approach which encourages local authorities in Dublin and across the State to organise their own events to mark the day.

The Irish Aid division of the DFA has been running the annual Africa Day celebrations since 2006, with particular focus on the free cultural celebration in the Phoenix Park, an event which attracted some 15,500 visitors last year.

However, earlier this month, Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development Ciarán Cannon announced that local authorities would take over the responsibility for marking the day for 2019.

Local authorities were invited on April 5th to apply to the department for “financial and practical supports” to organise Africa Day events for May 25th. The closing date for applications was five days later on April 10th.

It is understood organisations planning to participate in the Farmleigh event were only informed of the change two weeks ago, despite having already made preparations.

One participant expressed doubt as to whether Dublin City Council would be able to organise a similarly sized celebration at such short notice.

Dublin City Council did not respond to a request for comment on its Africa Day plans.

Africa Day commemorates the foundation of the African Union, which took place in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on May 25th, 1963. It is celebrated in cities across the world. On the africaday.ie website, Irish Aid is described as the “driving force” behind the celebrations, which highlight “how Africans and people with African heritage have integrated into Irish society and enriched the communities in which they live”.